Monday, August 24, 2015

SwissAir Flight 111 Memorial: St. Margaret's Bay, Nova scotia

The rocky coastline of St. Margaret's Bay is a beautiful place. We drove Route 333 which is part of the Coastal Heritage Trail several  times . On one of those drives we noticed a small sign that said SwissAir Flight 111 Memorial and decided to stop.

SwissAir Flight 111 crashed on September 2, 1998 after taking off from JFK in New York on its way to Geneva Switzerland.  What I didn't remember about the flight is that it went down in St Margaret's Bay about  5 miles from shore near  tiny fishing communities of Bayswater and Peggy's Cove.  The fishing fleet of St. Margaret's Bay were the crash sites first responders and the townspeople of the villages played host to the hundreds of recovery workers and grieving family members that were drawn to the scene.

All 229 people on board perished when the Aircraft hit the water in a collision so hard that houses on shore shook. The plane had changed course to attempt an emergency landing at Halifax International Airport about 50 miles northwest of the crash site.

I remember this event so clearly. There were rumors at the time of sabotage and terrorism. The RCMP Investigation ruled that the crash was caused by a cockpit fire that overwhelmed the aircraft. That investigation is questioned to this day by conspiracy theorists who speculate about a missing treasure in diamonds and other gemstones that were in the cargo hold.  


The monument consists of 2 stone markers placed on a flat expanse of granite.

One has 3 carved slots in the top to represent the 111. it is engraved in English and French:

In memory of

the 229 men women and children aboard SwissAir Flight 111

who perished off these shores

September 2, 1998

They have been joined to the sea and the sky.

May they Rest in peace.

The second stone, a tall oval, stands to its side and reads:

In grateful recognition of

all those who worked tirelessly

To provide assistance in the recovery

 operations and comfort to the families

and their friends in a time of distress.

The monuments are not alone. Those souls are not forgotten. Flowers have been placed on the worn granite stones, painted rocks and coins left near the markers. Visitors sit or walk in quiet contemplation. It is a place of stark beauty and overwhelming sadness.


  1. When I saw that you had went to Peggy's Cove, I was wondering if you wpsaw this memorial, Bonnie. Nova Scotia has had it's share of sadness, that's for sure. The Titanic recovery, the Halifax explosion in 1917, Hurricane Juan, and this. That being said, we found the people to be a very happy bunch!

    1. We did visit the Titanic grave sites in Halifax and learned about the crash and explosion when we were on the waterfront. Devastating events all.

  2. I think this is the best memorial headstone I have never seen before.

    1. It is haunting and beautiful. Fits into the landscape perfectly.